STREATOR — Streator shot the basketball more Tuesday, but Morris shot it quite a bit better en route to a 43-35, nonconference victory over the host Bulldogs here in SHS's home opener at Pops Dale Gymnasium.
Streator (1-5) was just 6 of 31 (19.4 percent) from the field in the opening half and trailed 25-14 at the halftime break. A sudden second-half burst of offense drew the Bulldogs as close as three points, 33-30, a minute and a half into the fourth quarter, but Morris (3-4) responded to its hosts' 12-0 run with a game-clinching 9-0 run of its own powered by sophomore Colin Cummings to pull away down the stretch and win a game in which it never trailed.
"Admittedly, we haven't played with a lot of leads lately," said Morris coach Joe Blumberg, "and our guards struggled with pressure and decision-making as Streator made its runs. Cummings seemed to get a much-needed drive or free throws at key times.
"Streator didn't shoot it well, but they are young, dangerous and well-coached."
A Logan Edwards 3-pointer 16 seconds after the opening tip gave Morris a lead it would never relinquish. That advantage waxed as Cummings — who finished with a game-high 21 points off the bench, including 11 points in the opening quarter and six more in the fourth — kept piling up points, and the Morris lead reached as many as 15 points early in the third.
The Bulldogs, suffering through some serious shooting woes, could not keep up at the other end. A 5-of-10 third quarter led by Christian Bedecker — who scored a team-high 12 points on the night — allowed Streator to chip away at the Morris lead and get it to 33-30 following a nice-look assist from Chase Ramon to Grant Mascal and a Bedecker lay-in off a Mascal assist with 6:22 to play.
That blip of offense was more the exception than the rule on this night, however, and in the end the Bulldogs' 27.8 percent (15-of-54) shooting from the field, 16.0 percent (4-of-25) shooting from the 3-point arc and 16.7 percent (1-of-6) shooting from the free-throw line made it next to impossible to complete the rally.
Simply put, the Bulldogs did not shoot well enough to win.
"Yeah, that's putting it mildly," said Bulldogs coach Beau Doty. "And I think that's part of it for sure, but I think the bigger thing coming out of tonight is you have to look bigger picture with us right now. We want to win, obviously, every time we go out there and lace them up, but tonight's a growth night for us and how we react when things don't go our way.
"I think we have a lot of guys on this team who need to learn to respond the adversity better and have a next-play mentality. I've got patience for development, but that's something, if you're going to be playing varsity basketball, that needs to be developed right away. ...
"That's something as a group we need to start stressing, as a team and as a staff, and maybe we need to stop worrying so much about spending our time on certain things structurally or Xs and Os or scouting reports ... and focus more on those other things."
Aside from Bedecker's 12 points off the bench, Mason Benning added nine points and Grant Mascal four points with team-highs of eight rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots for Streator, which returns to action Friday with a road Interstate Eight Conference tilt at Manteno.
Jacob Overbeck and Edwards scored seven points apiece to go with Cummings' 21 — Overbeck also adding a team-high eight rebounds. As a team, Morris shot 40.0 percent from the field and 66.7 from the free-throw line led by Cummings' 10-for-10 charity-stripe performance.
At Pops Dale Gymnasium, Streator
Morris 43, Streator 35
(Key: FG-FGA FT-FTA TP)
MORRIS (43) — Walter 2-8 1-2 5, Overbeck 2-3 2-6 7, Edwards 2-3 2-3 7, Dryfhout 0-3 0-1 0, Lain 0-2 0-0 0, Cummings 5-9 10-10 21, Kingsbury 1-2 1-1 3, Amiano 0-0 0-1 0. Totals 12-30 16-24 43.
STREATOR (35) — M. Benning 4-16 0-0 9, P. Benning 0-3 0-0 0, Colter 0-4 0-0 0, Mascal 2-4 0-0 4, Tredway 2-6 0-2 4, Bedecker 5-12 0-0 12, Ford 1-5 0-0 3, Houch 0-2 0-2 0, Ramon 0-1 0-0 0, Spears 0-0 1-2 1, AJ Benning 0-0 0-0 0, Baker 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 15-54 1-6 35.
Morris (3-4) 17 8 8 10 — 43
Streator (1-5) 5 9 12 9 — 35
3-point goals - Morris 3-10 (Overbeck 1-1, Edwards 1-1, Cummings 1-4, Dryfhout 0-1, Walter 0-3); Streator 4-25 (Bedecker 2-7, Ford 1-4, M. Benning 1-7, Ramon 0-1, Mascal 0-2, Colter 0-4). Rebounds - Morris 31 (Overbeck 8, Walter 6, Dryfhout 6); Streator 33 (Mascal 8). Assists - Morris 5 (Overbeck 2); Streator 10 (M. Benning 2, Bedekcer 2, Ramon 2). Steals - Morris 6 (Overbeck 2, Edwards 2); Streator 13 (Mascal 3). Blocked shots - Morris 0; Streator 3 (Mascal 2, Houch 1). Turnovers - Morris 17; Streator 12. Total fouls (fouled out) - Morris 11 (none); Streator 21 (M. Benning).